tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 10, 2010 5:00pm-6:59pm EST
out, the current president, that he didn't want to be rude to the first lady and white house staff family. i wanted to make that point. that's why he left bill clinton there. little awkward to see one leaving the other in there because bill clinton ran with it. he said it's my microphone now, basically. >> i think it's fairly obvious and right to say that this was a historic moment watching a former president be introduced by a current president, one who they didn't really get along on the campaign trail. thank you very much for that ed henry. that is it for me, thanks for watching my colleagues over at "the situation room" will pick this up right now. wolf, take it away. happening now, breaking news. bill clinton comes to the rescue of president obama's troubled tax cut deal. this hour, a truly remarkable news conference by two former rivals teaming up to try to rally defiant democrats behind the white house's proposal. there's not a lot of holiday cheer in the capital right now.
the senate is trying to move forward on tax cuts, but house democrats are still saying hombug. a shocking lapse that may have made it easier for drug traffickers or even terrorists to use aircraft. this hour how registration for thousands of private planes fell through the cracks. wolf blitzer is off, i'm jessica yellin. you're in "the situation room." when you are a president reeling from the kind of week president obama has had not a lot of people that can feel your pain. enter bill clinton. the breaking news this hour, the former president stepped up to the podium at the white house with mr. obama just a short while ago. it was truly an extraordinary event. anyone who's covered the white house remembers this, see this as a first. the current president spoke briefly and then left his predecessor to talk at length about why he thinks defiant
democrats should support a tax cut compromise with republicans. we're going to talk about it all with our senior white house correspondent ed henry along with our chief national correspondent john king and the host of "jk usa" and gloria borger. i want to play one of the more memorable moments from this first ever, maybe, first that we can remember a press conference in the briefing room. what was your advice to president obama today about how to deal with the congressmen in the opposition party? >> i have a general rule which is whatever he asks me about my advice and whatever i say should become public only if he decides to make it public. he can say whatever he wants. >> what do you think? >> here's what i'll say, i've been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour. so, i'm going to take off. >> i don't want to make her mad, please, go.
>> you're in good hands and gibbs will call last question. >> thank you. >> okay, john, i got to ask you first because you covered bill clinton for so many years. that was a remarkable moment. i can't tell if the president was saying wrap up now or it's all yours. >> no telling bill clinton to wrap. the president of the united states, the current president, made a very smart political calculation to bring the former president into the briefing room. the big political torre in washington all day long has been bernie sanders and other democrats on the floor of the united states senate ripping this tax cut deal apart saying the president got a bad deal and the middle class gets screwed and that was going to be the dominant political story. i'll see your bernie sanders and raise you a bill clinton and into the briefing room he comes and very smart line early on. he says there's never a bipartisan deal that a partisan likes. but, you have to compromise. in communicating in a pretty compelling way, look, i was the president, we created 22 million jobs and i don't like a lot of this deal, but i think it's the best deal you can get as a messenger, it's awkward.
he overshadows the current president to a degree. but as a messenger, that was a strong performance by bill clinton. >> you covered this white house, obviously, we know bill clinton as extraordinary communicator. it did seem to be a moment where obama didn't like being seen as the robin to bill clinton's batman. >> i think you're right and john's right, some political risk for the current president to bring out someone who is such a great communicator and, frankly, after four days every single day this week president obama, you know, beating this story out there and having his own solo news conference on wednesday and giving remarks every single day of this week until now why this tax deal is such a great deal and he couldn't sell it to democrats. there is risk now in bringing out bill clinton to say, you try to sell this because i haven't had much luck this week. on the other hand, bringing out bill clinton shows that maybe president obama is big enough to share the stage a bit and what better advocate to go out there and say, look, in the end, as john said, this is a compromise, not everyone likes it but a net
plus, as he put it, for the middle class, jessica. >> he didn't share the stage, he gave the stage remember when he left the presidency and he was giving a press conference at the very end at the airplane hangar for what seemed to be an hour. and in this particular case, he seemed quite at home, should i say? he even said i enjoy my days of governing. >>ing us how much he has been studally the economy and how important the payroll tax relief is and then the funniest thing was that he called it a stimulus package. then he said, oops, i'm not supposed to use that word. >> he captured the moment. many people said will obama pull a clinton? will he pivot to the center and triangulate? that will be the debate for the next six months or two years. but the former president did make a very important point, not
setting politics aside, but setting the hourly scorekeeping aside. yes, house democrats, liberals have to get a message. the republicans won the election and you have to compromise and then he said in the next breath, so do the republicans. we won, we rule the town and everybody has to, at times, be partisan and fight like cats and dogs and every now and then you'll have to come together and be grown ups. >> let me bring in dana bash up on capitol hill because this is either playing to the media and the public, but one of the real audiences are the democrats on capitol hill. how will this go over with them? >> i was trying to e-mail some democratic sources as bill clinton was talking to say, is this working? are you convinced? one senior democratic source e-mailed me back saying, well, i'm convinced. look at him, look at the way he stands up there and makes it understandable. it certainly will help and i think that is something is really fascinating. you have president obama who is the commander in chief and today bill clinton was the validator in chief. that is what his goal was. no question. look, the reality is, also, that you have a lot of democrats who
may not hear him and if they hear him, they're not going to care. they are angry and that's the bottom line. but the fact of the matter is, you have this man who was the number one pick for every democrat running for re-election and running for election in this campaign season. they were desperate to have him out there. they respect him and they trust his judgment. >> on the other hand, gloria, president oobama has gone out of his way to say, i don't want to triangialate and i'm not going to be like bill clinton or his team has and yet the signal is something a little different. >> what bill clinton did, he didn't come out and get angry at the democrats who were opposing this. they didn't call them sanctimonious, but he came out and he said, i understand. i understand. i feel your pain. i know where you're coming from. but, also, understand that this is a much better deal than we would get if we were to wait until january. so, he said, essentially, be pragmatic about it. >> can we play one more moment of sound from this, from the
press conference where president obama is introducing president clinton. >> i just had a terrific meeting with the former president, president bill clinton. and we just happen to have this as a topic of conversation. and i thought given the fact that he presided over as good an economy as we've seen in our life times that it might be useful for him to share some of his thoughts. i'm going to let him speak very briefly and then i've actually got to go over and do some, just one more christmas party. so, he may decide he wants to take some questions, but i want to make sure that you guys heard from him directly. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. president. first of all, i feel awkward being here and now you're going to leave me all by myself. let me just say a couple things. first of all, i still spend
about an hour a day trying to study this economy. and i'm not running for anything and i don't have a political agenda. i just try to figure out what to do. i have reviewed this agreement that the president reached with the republican leaders and i want to make full disclosure. you know, i make quite a bit of money now, so that the position that the republicans will personally benefit me. and on its own, i wouldn't support it. and because i don't think that my tax cut is the most economically efficient way to get the economy going again. >> okay. ed henry, we saw an interesting dynamic between the two men. it cannot be a surprise to the white house that president clinton was going to speak for a while after president obama left. you know anything about how this came together, the stagecraft, why they planned it, when they
planned it? >> they had not been expecting that they were going to do this and i think it was a bit of a last-minute decision based on what i have been told so far. they were not planning some big roll out, if you will. we should point out that president obama is still going to be selling this all next week. we have information that next wednesday the president will have a ceo summit at blair house bring in a lot of business leaders and try and sell this to capitol hill. but, he's also going to maybe use some of more of bill clinton at the end of the news conference a reporter asked if bill clinton was willing to make some phone calls. he said i'm busy, but i would do it if president obama wants. he talked to the lawmakers from arkansas where he some way and he helped put it over the top. they're going to use him more, you can bet, in the coming days. i just got an e-mail from a senior administration official who jokingly said, president obama was going over to the east room for this holiday party, take some pictures with white house staff and then there's a media party later tonight and
the senior official said, do you think maybe bill clinton will have his own line in the east room? that's not out of the realm of possibilities. >> somebody e-mailed me and said it looks like he's moving back in. is this the beginning of a changed relationship with these two men who seemed like such rivals not too long ago. >> one, if you're interested in government, you hope so. in the sense that the former presidents are a club and they have a special relationship. jimmy carter has been an outcast and always some tensions between the clinton group and the obama group. some of the white house people and ed can speak to this, as well, have been saying under their breath that the loudest liberal criticism has been coming from people who were never with us. hillary clinton people back in the campaign. they didn't like us to begin with and now just looking for an opportunity to whack us. having bill clinton on your side is a smart move. whatever you think of bill clinton's politics, he was the president when the economy was roaring along. he raised taxes on the rich.
that was his singular middle tax cut proposal. now that when all the democrats are saying why won't president obama to raise taxes on the rich to have president clinton say, i don't like it, but it's okay for now. it helps. >> an old reality for bill clinton and who better to come into the white house to talkoba was like. when bill clinton lost control of the congress in '94 he was more blindsided than president obama was. the democrats were expecting it. but it took him a couple years to go through the stages of grief and finally come out of it with, for example, welfare reform or declare that the big government is over and get the economy on track. so, what better person than bill clinton to say to barack obama, don't worry. don't worry. there's light at the end of the tunnel. >> let me show you how it's done. maybe a little bit of that. >> to let him know that his hair is going to turn just like that.
>> all right, thanks to both of you. we'll continue talking about this throughout the hour. the next two hours and, also, coming up, a new reason to be concerned that america is not as secure as it could be from terrorists. we'll tell you about a stunning gap in the government's ability to track private planes and what's being done to fix it. a suspected u.s. drone strike in pakistan growing o outrage in the region and the threat of consequences. the treasury secretary lands in the hospital. ♪ oh, my gosh! oh, my gosh! ♪ [ male announcer ] you know her. we know diamonds. together we'll make her holiday.
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the u.s. senate, blasting the president's tax cut deal with republicans with a little help from his friends. listen to this. >> you recall what i'm doing today whatever you want. you can call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech. sounds like a good idea for working people, it is actually a very bad idea. when is enough enough? how much do they need? again, it has to be put within the broad context of what's going on in america. >> give that man a throat lauzenjure. the senate video server crashed because so many people have been watching his speech and it is one of the most talked about items on twitter right now. we should point out, he's still talking live right now and for people who follow such things, there's a raging debate about
whether this does or doesn't qualifies as a filibuster. we're waiting for an official ruling from the senate congressional parliament aryan on that. it is a long speech. and now back to the breaking news this hour. something we don't think we've ever seen before. former president bill clinton took over the podium at the white house to help democrats sell president obama's tax cut deal that he's cut with republicans. let's bring in our senior political analyst both david gergen and gloria borger. pretty remarkable moment. david, i want to start with you. you worked with president clinton for a while. just what are your thoughts watching that press conference? >> president clinton called another president, former presidents and i remember very distinctly he called in all the presidents when he was trying to introduce nafta which was very unpopular in his own party and he brought them out and introduced them at the white house. he didn't turn the podium over to them. >> is that a bad idea? actually, do you think that's
not good for president obama? does it diminish him or was it a smart, political move? >> well, gloria, go ahead. >> no, i don't think he intended to turn it over to him. i'm not sure. he said, you know, gibbs, his press secretary will call last question. >> he never did, did he? >> we don't know, we don't know. i think that was sort of a hint call one more question and we won't keep you here all day, mr. president. >> yeah, but bill clinton is irrepressible and a sitting presidents sometimes do have issues with former presidents. i remember bill clinton calling jimmy carter and asking him to go down to haiti to help renegotiate and get some people free down there and he went with colin powell and sam nunn and is he going to be a loose canon? once you've been president, you like playing that role again. >> i have to say, i'm with
gurn gurgen on that one. >> he did a good job. he sold it, he sold it the way he needed to sell it. he had the right tone and the right message. >> let me broaden the conversation to look a little bit about, to look at the question. was this a good or a bad week for president obama because there seem to be ratically different views on that. there are some dueling op-eds. megy nunen writes that we have not in our lifetime seen a president in this position. he spent his first year losing the center, which elected him. and his second losing his base which is supposed to provide his troops. david brooks writing in "new york times" says it was a very good week. the fact is the obama and democrats had an excellent week. the white house negotiators did an outstanding job for their side. moreover, obama put himself in a position to govern again. david, your take. who's right? >> i believe he has come out
with an agreement that he would have to reach anyway and, ultimately, had they paid for it, i would have been a lot happier. but, ultimately, extending all the tax cuts is a good thing temporarily. however, the politics. he mishandled the politics of it so that he got a deal that i think did move him to the center but an enormouses expen expense it was mishandled, as well as some of the communications. >> i think peggy's point was also that he had the wrong tone and, david, i think maybe what you're referring to which is calling his own democrats sanctimonious and getting really angry at them, there might have been another way to deal with it. you saw how bill clinton dealt with it today, which was a much better way. by the way, a new gallup poll that shows 67% of independent voters actually favor extending the tax cuts for everyone, so long as we're in a bad economy. so, in terms of the independent support that he has lost, i think he had a great week.
>> and bill clinton plays with them well, too. >> let me go back to this, too. when bill clinton was president and he went to the center he was much more nimble at getting there. he did it in a way that he didn't totally alienate his base. sometimes they were angry at him and overall he kept the democrats with him and he got some republicans to go along. this president has gotten to the center on this particular issue, but in a way that seems to have left him weakened with republicans and has alienated democrats. that's not great politics. >> i don't think he's as adepth at it as bill clinton because he hasn't had as much experience as bill clinton had. what we're seeing of barack obama we have never seen before because we've never seen him in this kind of situation. he made some missteps here, did the right thing but maybe could have used a little better tone. >> we have to leave it there. fascinating day. we'll continue this discussion. thanks for being with us. and we're monitoring our other important top stories this hour, including prince charles and camilla targeted in a
violent student riot in the uk. find out what's new and now in store for those responsible. plus, some u.s. soldiers get an unexpected ride home from the war zone and a surprise, all-expense paid night at a major hotel. we'll tell you who is behind it all. awwwww. this one? this one? this one? still not big enough. [ disappointed ] but it's the biggest one here... [ male announcer ] let's be honest. no one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift. ♪ it's the lexus december to remember sales event, and for a limited time, we're celebrating some of our greatest offers of the year. see your lexus dealer.
some of the other top stories in "the situation room." hey, mary, what do you have? >> ambassador richard holbrooke the special representation for afghanistan and pakistan was hospitalized after feeling ill. he is being evaluated and no further details at this time. also hospitalized treasury secretary tim geithner. he's having a kidney stone removed. the treasury department calls it minor surgery and says geithner's doctors expect him to be discharged tomorrow. he was forced to cancel several sunday morning television appearances. geithner plans to return to work on monday. britain's prime minister is promising the full force of the law after those violent protests yesterday. david cameron says the protesters and not the police are to blame. the chaos included an attack on a car that helped prince charles and camilla. students were enraged at the government's move to triple tuition at british universities. police say 34 people have been arrested and 40 more
hospitalized. the royal couple escaped unhurt. jessica? >> thank you, mary. we hear a lot these days about airline security and the fight against terror, but now we're learning about a risky gap in the government's ability to keep track of private planes. we'll look at just how risky it could be. and sarah palin is putting her opinions in print, again. is she raising expectations for a white house campaign or lowering them? plus, bad news for homeowners at risk of foreclosures just in time for the holidays. ♪ [ male announcer ] lately, there's been a lot of talk about fuel efficiency, hybrids, and plug-in vehicles. and we've got cars like that. even trucks. but we can do more. starting today, when you buy a chevrolet, we'll invest in renewable-energy, energy-efficiency, and tree-planting programs across america -- reducing carbon emissions by up to eight million metric tons over the next few years. and just one more way we can proudly say: "chevy runs deep." ♪
federal aviation officials are acknowledging a huge gap in their ability to track private airplanes. it's more than a record keeping problem, it's a potential national security nightmare in need of an urgent fix. here's our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve with more. hey, jeanne. >> jessica, as you know, a car has to be registered every year, but a plane, not so. not until now anyway. count them. there are 357,000 aircraft in the united states. but the federal aviation administration doesn't have accurate records on one-third of them. 119,000 planes.
>> this is the equivalent of the irs losing a couple million tax returns. this is a core part of the faa's responsibility and losing track of 119,000 airplanes is nothing to sneeze at. it is a very serious problem. >> reporter: why so serious? because that registration can help authorities distribute critical safety information to aircraft owners and can help law enforcement track stolen planes, drug dealers and possibly even terrorists. some experts say it is a security concern, but probably not a security problem. >> so, they're probably where they are supposed to be owned by the people the faa last has record of. they just don't know that. >> reporter: the records are badly out of date because until now owners have only had to register their aircraft once at the time of purchase. many have failed to update the faa as required when they have moved, sold an aircraft or scrapped one. to correct the situation and cleanse the current database, the faa is requiring that all
civil aircraft be reregistered over the next three years. owners will then have to renew their registrations every three years. the faa says that the changes are necessary in part because of the events of september 11, 2 1 2001, and our continuing war on terrorism. experts say this isn't going to end the misuse of aircraft and their registration tail numbers. their tail numbers can still be easily changed to throw off law enforcement, but hopefully this will make it easier to catch it when it does happen. jessica, back to you. >> let's hope so, thank you, jeanne. also a lot of anger today and uncertainty over when and if the military's don't ask, don't tell policy will end. the senate effectively killed efforts to begin repeal this year unless a bipartisan group of senators is able to raise the issue, again, and there's now a greater chance that the order to allow gays to serve openly in the military could come from the
courts. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us now with this and, barbara, we heard today from protesters and from the defense secretary. >> absolutely, jessica. this very small but very vocal demonstration here in washington earlier today by those who support repeal of this ban on gays and lesbians openly serving in the u.s. military. they came out and made themselves heard the day after the senate vote that tried to kill it off. now, some people are circling back and saying, well, maybe there is another chance. senator joe lieberman, the independent introducing a piece of legislation and trying to get it on to the floor of the senate and trying to get something going. the pentagon is beginning to express hope that something could be done in the closing days of this congressional session. have a listen to what defense secretary robert gates had to say as he traveled back to the united states from a trip overseas. >> i was disappointed in the
senate vote, but not surprised, as i indicated when we were on the aircraft carrier "abraham lincoln" earlier in the week. i was not optimistic. the fact remains, though, that there is still roughly a week left in the lame duck session and, so, i would hope that the congress would act to repeal don't ask, don't tell. >> jessica, just as you pointed out, the reason they still want legislation is there is a pending federal court ruling that looks very likely it will overturn the ban and that will force the military into very hasty compliance and the military doesn't like to be hasty about too many things. they want to be able to plan for it. on that plane coming home, one more detail. we found out that defense secretary gates had four service members from afghanistan he was
bringing fwook t ing back to th states for the holiday season. two of them were a married couple, a husband and wife in the u.s. military that were on their way home to be reunited for the holidays with their three children. jessica? >> that's a nice holiday surprise. thank you so much, barbara. >> sure. now, new closure for elizabeth smart almost a decade after her kidnapping and her return home. the verdict in a case that gripped the nation. and protests against deadly drone attacks by the u.s. give way to a first of its kind lawsuit. this tightness in my chest. so i went back to my doctor again. we chose symbicort to help control my asthma symptoms all day and night. [ man ] symbicort improves my lung function, starting within 15 minutes. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. it is a combination of two medicines and should not be taken more often than prescribed. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems, and children and adolescents may have an increased risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems.
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there's a verdict in the elizabeth smart trial. mary snow is monitoring that and other top stories in "the situation room" right now. hi, mary, what do you have? >> elizabeth smart saying she is "thrilled with this verdict." a federal jury has convicted the man accused of kidnapping el elizabeth smart. david brian mitchell was found guilty and transporting the 14-year-old across state lines with the intent of having sex with her. jurors rejected the insanity defense. mitchell faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. he will be sentenced in late may. bank of america says it will resume foreclosures. the bank plans to go ahead with 16,000 foreclosures this month. however, it says it will observe a holiday freeze of sales and evictions from december 20th to january 2nd. now, this comes after a series
of sloppy home seizures that caused the bank to reevaluate its procedures. and on wall street, stocks were up today with the s&p closing at a two-year high. the dow jones industrial average closed 45 points to close at 11410. all three major indices posted gains for the week. investors reacted to news that nation's trade deficit was smaller than expected in october and to a dividend hike by general electric. jessica? >> thank you, mary. and a marathon ramp going on right now on the u.s. senate floor and it still is happening as we speak. we're looking at live picture now of bernie sanders. a senator from vermont venting anger that many allies are feeling towards senator obama. our question, is it smart strategy? plus a sarah palin op-ed slamming some of the president's major policies. could it help position her for a potential presidential run? we'll discuss all that in our strategy session, just ahead.
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>> i just don't want to mention something. let's get back to senator bernie sanders who continues his marathon rant on the senate floor. he has been talking all day. okay, joining us today to discuss all this in our strategy session, two of our very best political contributors, hillary rosen and ed rollins. okay, guys, good to be here with you. fun to be here on a friday and what a speech by senator sanders. will it keep them unified, those against this propose snl. >> no, i don't think so. i think a majority of democrats will come together and support this proposal. but i have to say just as a citizen i love the idea instead of behind the scenes maneuvering of stopping things from
happening on the floor that you actually have a senator engaged in a good old, you know, mr. smith goes to washington filibuster. it just, it warms my heart that real debate is actually trying to take place on the senate floor. >> ed, it seems americans are fascinated because if people are going nuts on twitter over it and crashed some server at the u.s. congress, what kind of mess, is this actually damaging for president obama, do you think? >> well, to have the one socialist in the congress basically holding attacking the rich is not exactly the worst place for our side to be. you know, the bottom line is it would have been nice if the president who made a very tough decision to move the ball forward could have had the support of his party. he didn't. at the end of the day, that will be the agreement that they had will be what's implemented, whether it's now or in january and the key thing here is how does it work? does it make the economy move? does it get people back to work? that's what matters.
this is all rhetoric and this is the last of especially the house democrats, the last hurrah before the republicans take over. >> you can't, though, let the comment go by without really acknowledging that there are a lot of democrats over the last two days that have come out in support of president obama. you know, i was looking at my blackberry all day on reports from the white house with various senators, progressive senators that, you know, really do see that this is the best way to get middle class tax cuts extended. the best way to get unemployment benefits extended and, so, you know, overall, i think we're going to see a lot of democrats coming to the table here. >> you know, ed, i can't ignore the images we saw today. on the one hand, sanders who is allied with democrats attacking the white house and bringing in bill clinton, the chief triangialator of the democratic party. president obama said so often that he doesn't want to
triangulate. isn't that what is happening here? >> a lot of fondness for bill clinton. the most popular figure and i'm sure a lot of democrats looked at bill clinton and admired him for his political skills, which were enormous and hope thatobam them and move forward. >> how funny it is to see bill clinton looking so darn comfortable at that podium and as president obama walks out the door to go do other business. but, you know, the real issue here is this isn't really triangialation. you know, democrats are the ones who started this messaging back in the fall. you know, the liberal democrats. we all said it is untenable that republicans want to extend tax cuts for the wealthy and let unemployment compensation for the unemployed expire. it's an untenable combination of events. what did they think was going to happen, ultimately, when that
got sold? of course, that's where the compromise was. you know, it's crazy and that's why i don't think this is a typical triangialation. this was not an attempt by the president to push the democrats and congress aside. this was an attempt by the president to move the ball forward. >> this is bipartisanship. this is what has to happen with the republicans controlling the house. you will have to more deals like this over the years and democrats aren't going it always be happy and republicans aren't always going to be happy and the key thing is to make the economy get better. >> let me move on to another topic. sarah palin had an op-ed in the "wall street journal." sounding very serious in the piece. i will read you one quote in it. she says, sa palin. the cbo estimates that under the roadmap by 2058 per person gdp would be 70% higher than the
current trend. this doesn't sound like the sarah palin we're used to hearing. ed, is she gearing up for a presidential run? is that what this sounds like? >> i don't have inside information but that's what it sounds like. if she wants to be a serious candidate, she is going to have to do serious things. this was a serious piece and i give her credit for it. >> hillary, some obama allies, some allies of the president said sarah palin is the person they would most like him to run against. are they taking her too lightly? >> i don't think it's a matter of taking her too lightly and i agree if she's heralding a more serious points on the issues then people are going to pay more attention. but sarah palin does one thing that no other republicans do in facing president obama. everybody else will make the campaign a referendum on him. if sarah palin runs, it will be a referendum on her and that's good for president obama.
so, i don't think that changes no matter how serious she gets. >> and does she have a point there? this is a person who sarah palin has made serious errors in the public domain and will have to do something to be taken very seriously. is that a real challenge? >> she has to prove her grovatose. she has a prove a credibility gap and, obviously, she's got a lot of time to do that. >> on the other hand, hillary, it will be so far it looks if sarah palin does run, sarah palin in the republican field against a bunch of guys. she's not shy about saying i am the reformer woman taking the guys and the establishment. is there a way it could some democratic women? >> that was the theory when she ran for vice president and she
widened the gender gap for president obama, independent women ran away from her in droves and towards president obama. there's not a lot yet to see why that would be any different. so, i agree with you. we shouldn't take her lightly, but run, sarah, run. >> you think it would be a good thing for the democrats. all right, hillary, ed, thanks so much for joining us. have a good friday. you just heard us talking about an extraordinary and dramatic moment president obama turning the white house podium over to the former president bill clinton. i'll speak to one of president clinton's former speech writers ahead. plus, this year's nobel peace prize winner represented by an empty chair. you'll meet him. ♪
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there's a look at hot shots in london. broken security barriers pile up in front of parliament after yesterday's protests of tuition hikes. in india, marchers light torches. and at a zoo in germany, the famous polar bear plays in the snow. cute. hot shots, pictures worth 1,000 words. for only the second time a now bell peace prize winner was honored with an empty chair.
he's serving an 11-year prison sentence for what the government calls inciting subversion of state power. he's not allowed to accept the prize in person. nobel committee chairman is calling for civil rights in the country. china calls the prize a farce. a closer look at the man who received the honor. >> translator: in a dictate torl society, if you want to be a human rights person, fight for freedom of speech, then being in prison is part of what you took on. >> translator: you took on that burden in 1989 in beijing's tian'anmen square, an academic lecturing in new york when thousands of china began their unprecedented challenge to the government.
he went back to join them and eventually emerged as one of their leaders. chinese troops and tanks broke up the protest, hundreds of people were killed. but things could have been worse. wu talked people out of violence. but days later, the authorities jailed him, the university fired him. the up and coming academic found himself with a new job description, dissident, in and out of jail for the next two decades. >> translator: sometimes i joke that a dissident intellectual has to be good at being in prison. just like a farmer has to be as a result cultivating land well and a teacher teaches well. >> his words published unofficially or outside mainland china continue to charge the authorities. in 2008, he was one of the leading figures behind charter
'08 an internet manifesto that called on the chinese golf to live up to promises to its own people. chinese has many laws, but no rule of law. it has a constitution, but no constitutional government. wu was jailed even before charter '08 could be published, sentenced to 11 years behind bars. >> it was very dangerous and everyone knew that, he essentially said i'll take the rap. i'll cover for the rest of you, i'll say i was the main instigator. he did that knowing that it would be risky for another prison term. so he went into prison with his eyes open and his friends admire him for that courage. >> both the nobel committee chairman and president obama are calling for nu's immediate
pakistan are reportedly dead following a u.s. drone attack yesterday. attacks like these are prompting growing outrage in the region. what if they land the united states in court? >> reporter: pakistanis have long protested u.s. drone strikes with cries of death to america. but kareem hahn is the first to sue the u.s. government. they kill innocent people says the 43-year-old journalist, oppressors should be brought to justice. in 2009, missiles flattened his village. i'm angry, that's why i'm suing. he asks for $500 million in his lawsuit. this is a rare look at what witnesses say is the aftermath of drone attacks.
officials say this year u.s. drones hit more than 100 alleged militant targets in pakistan's tribal regions along the border. u.s. officials say that covert strikes are legal and have killed hundreds of militants. >> it's mostly innocent people are are being killed not the militants. >> reporter: they say target killings on mere suspicion break the rules of war. >> in a western society, you cannot even arrest someone just on mere suspicion, but here you're executing people on mere suspicion. >> reporter: right after he went public with his lawsuit, came the media attention and then other families of drone strikes started calling him, they wanted to sue the u.s. government too. and then two weeks later, this happened. a protest a few blocks away from
a parliament building in a pakistani capital of islamabad. they say they are victims of u.s. strikes too. this man says he lost both legs and three relatives in a september drone strike. last january mohammad fahime says shrapnel gashed open his stoma stomach. verifying his stories is virtual impossible. media access to the tribal region is banned by the pakistani government. even though, he says a class-action lawsuit against the government is coming. the u.s. embassy in islamabad tells cnn they have seen the protests but are not aware of any lawsuits. akbar says he doesn't think the u.s. government will show up in court any time soon, but that
doesn't mean these victims are going away. happening now, breaking news, president obama pulls out one of the biggest guns in the democratic arsenal to rally support for his tax cut deal with republicans. this meeting led to an extraordinary white house briefing. also kidnapping victim elizabeth smart speaks off the trial of the man who held her hostage for almost nine months. it's being called one of the worst breaches of security ever. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news and political headlines are straight ahead. wolf blitzer is off today, i'm jessica yellin, you're in "the situation room." veterans of the white house -- veterans of the white
house press corps probably had a sense of déjà vu in the briefing room this afternoon as they listened to a -- it wasn't barack obama. although he was there briefly before leaving for a party. it was former president bill clinton where he threw his weight behind the tax cut compromise president obama hammered out with republican leaders. house democrats have already rejected that compromise, but former president clinton says he does not think there's a better deal out there. >> i just had a terrific meeting with the former president, president bill clinton and we just happened to have this as a topic of conversation. and i thought, given the fact that he presided over as good an economy as we have seen in our lifetimes, that it might be useful for him to share some of these thoughts.
i'm going to let him speak very briefly. and then i'm actually going to go over and do some -- just one more christmas party. so he may decide he wants to take some questions, but i want to make sure that you guys heard from him directly. >> thank you. thank you very much, mr. president. first of all, i feel awkward being here and now you're going to leave me all my myself? let me just say a couple of things, first of all, i still smer spend about an hour a day studying this economy. and i'm not running, i don't have a political agenda, i am trying to figure out what to do. i have reviewed this agreement that the president reached with republican leaders and i want to make full disclosure, you know, i make quite a bit of money now,
so the position that the republicans have urged will personally benefit me. and on its own, i wouldn't support it. because i don't think that my tax cut is the most economically efficient way to get the economy going again. but i don't want to be in the dark about the fact that i will receive the continuation of the tax rates. however, the agreement taken as a whole is, i believe, the best bipartisan agreement we can reach to help the largest number of americans. >> what was your advice to president obama today about how to deal with the congress -- >> i have a general rule, which is whatever he asks me about my advice and whatever i say should become public only if he decides to make it public. he can say whatever he wants. >> here's what i'll say is that i have been keeping the first
lady waiting for about half an hour so i'm going to take off. >> i don't want to make her mad, please go. >> you're in good hands and gibbs will call last question. >> thank you. go ahead. >> do you think your appearance here today will help sway votes among house democrats? the reason i ask you that is because a lot of them are sort of antsy and i know you never used the term back in your first term, but they're antsy about the try an gu lags. they're still smarting about that and your presence here today might not necessarily push them in the direction that the president wants them to be pushed. >> i told president obama and i'll tell you you ought to read a lecture that franklin roosevelt gave in 1976, before he came down with polio to his old alma mater. when he discussed the dilemma of
the progressive movement in american politics. you know, i have an enormous amount of respect for the democrats in the house and i have already told you i regret that so many of them lost, i think some of our best people lost and i get where they're coming in. i can only tell you that my economic analysis is that p given all the alternatives that i can imagine actually becoming law, this is the best economic result for america. >> let's get more on all this now with cnn white house correspondent dan lothian, former clinton speechwriter mild walledman joining us from new york, cnn chief political correspondent and host of state of the union candy crowley and u.s. national correspondent john king, host of john king usa. by the time i'm done introducing everybody, the block's over. let's go to you first, dan, you were in the room, bringing bill clinton out before the
microphones, it wasn't planned, is that you're hearing too? >> reporter: we're told that that was just a last minute, spur of the moment type event. we're told that the president did reach out to the former president after the midterm elections to come and sit down and talk about a whole host of issues, domestic and foreign policy issues as well. and we're told the president was told to come in for this meet meeting. we were told there would not be a readout of the meeting and we're also told that we would not get any highlights of what advice the former president may have been giving this president. so we were just given a few minutes heads up and told that the president and the former president would be coming to the briefing room and so it was certainly a surprise to us. and former president clinton was quite comfortable spending quite a bit of time after president obama walked out answering questions from reporters at various times, white house spokesman robert gibbs tried to cut off the questioning and he
kept pointing at reporters for additional questions. so clearly this was a former president wanting to lend some weight to this information that's facing right now just a major challenge in trying to get this tax cut framework through up on capitol hill and certainly through the democrats as well and as the former president pointed out that everyone in this will have to eat something that they don't like, but he believes this was the right compromise for the country. >> that's good to know, candy, robert gibbs was trying to cut it off. you don't bring the president to the white house to endorse you in front of cameras without expecting you to go long, right? >> especially when you leave him alone. this is a man who clearly misses us, which is nice. i first looked up and honestly my first thought was, big mistake. >> why? >> because here's -- you know, it's kind of like never share a
stage with animals and children, i think we should add bill clinton to that list. >> you're going to hear from people for that. >> i think he just takes the stage. >> yes. >> and it reminds people of -- remember he wasn't always the most popular president around, but he certainly is now and certainly was when he left and he carries a lot of heft and he just commands that stage and it was almost too comfortable for him. and i think sometimes the contrast is not good. and that's what occurred to me. >> and it also occurs to me, john, if this does get passed now bill clinton will get some of the credit, and it won't all go to the white house. >> the current president faces re-election in two years and he's overshadowed to a degree, bill clinton is a better communicator in some ways, especially when it comes to economic issues, talking to regular americans. but this president has a problem
right now, he had a revolt in the house, he had this spectacle going on, a 69-year-old guy suddenly becomes -- will it sway house liberals? many of them were the old guard, and they say here we go again. who has credibility with the american people on the economy? bill clinton does have credibility with the american people. it's an inside game and it's also an important outside game. they thought this deal will go down quickly, the longer something is on the vine, the more you can hit it. so they needed some help today and they decided to take the risk. >> let me introduce former speechwriter for bill clinton who was there while the former president was dealing with a house that was against him. michael, your thoughts on the president clinton's performance today? he looked comfortable to all of us. what do you think? >> he sure did. and it was hard not to smile watching him. he relishes talking about the
economy and talking about policy, but of course remember after the 1994 election when he had his shellacking, he didn't look so commanding and everybody thought oh, he's diminished, he's not a commanding figure like ronald reagan, so it helps to be out of office. what was interesting is that i thought he had a message that was powerful, echoing some of his early messages. the key point is the economy first, he said i don't like the tax cuts for the rich, but the economy first. he said there would be a macroeconomic consequence if the taxes went up and it's more important to get the economy right right now. that helps with the deficit issue. and it was deft and i wouldn't be surprised if you hear the democrats and the white house talking that way. >> i was interested to read a column you wrote suggesting some other tips the current president might take from what bill clinton did. and your point was that he should both get tougher with the
republicans and more critical of them. would you explain? >> yeah, as i wrote in bloomberg news, other presidents, whether it was bill clinton or harry truman, who everybody thinks was just fighting and denouncing the do-nothing congress. there's really a pattern for how presidents who do badly in the midterm react. they find some issues where it's not just that they compromise with the opposition party, they actually agree with the opposition party. for harry truman it was the cold wa war. then they draw some sharp lines on some key principles. that's what they did with the budget that was sent to him by congress. it's not so much should the president compromise, of course he should, but where is he going to work aggressively with the republicans and where is he going to draw a sharp line? and that's what democrats are
craving. they want to know what barack obama is going to fight on. this tax issue was a core democratic issue for years and still is. it's a little harder to fight on it now. but i think this issue of the economy first and so many other things going forward are what president obama needs to do. >> candy it's ironic that bill clinton says liberals need to fight. finally he picked a fight with them. >> they picked a fight with him. in all fairness, he didn't want the fight. >> that's true. >> i think what michael's saying is exactly where they're going. you can be sure that they will find in the new congress ways to go. no, thus far and no further, there will be those cuts, just on immigration reform just to key up for 2012. so there are things that he will say this is not happening. he will protect health care reform no matter what happens so that will be a clear line. so he'll get to that. >> the white house is going to think this is a swimming success, yes?
>> they knew the dynamic of what today's knew cycle would be and what the story would be heading into the weekend and they made a calculation. but the bush tax cuts, that's a tough one for the liberals to swallow. this is not some abstract policy, this is something they have fought for a decade. the bush tax cuts is a hard pill for the democrats s ts to swal. i think there will be people who say he was diminished by this, but this is a play towards his re-election and his standing in washington. not what people in the party feel about this. >> we'll be talking about this into the weekend, no doubt. they desperately want two things, citizenship and an education. but the bill that would give them both is facing an uncertain future and so are they. that's coming up and so is the story of elizabeth smart, speaking out as her kidnapper's trial comes to a dramatic end.
it was an emotional day for former kidnapping victim elizabeth smart and her family. just a short time ago in a salt lake city courtroom. a jury ruled on the insanity defense of the homeless street creature accused of snatching 14-year-old smart from her home in 2002. joining us now is ted rolens who was in the courtroom. what was the verdict? >> reporter: guilty, jessica, on both counts that brian david mitchell faced. mitchell when he was brought
into the courtroom was singing as he has been most days throughout the trial. the judge kept him there dourin the reading of the verdicts. when those verdicts were read, elizabeth smart was in the front row. i was watching her as the first verdict of guilty was read. her smile came on to her face and stayed there throughout the reading of the second verdict. her family was with her as well. the smarts have been a mainstay in this case. elizabeth smart's testimony was three days of riveting testimony about exactly what happened to her. she told jurors how she was taken out of her bed with a knife to her throat and taken up to a hillside camp and chained to a tree for six weeks. she was raped, she said, between one and four times per day and held captive for nine months. afterwards she came out of the courthouse and addressed the media. >> i just want to say thank you to so people who have put so
much work into my case and helping me. i'm so thrilled with the verdict and i'm so thrilled to stand before the people of america today and give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what's happened to them. i hope that not only is this an example that justice can be served in america, but that it is possible to move on after something terrible has happened. and that we can -- >> reporter: and that's basically is what prosecutors said that this case leaned on elizabeth smart's testimony. jessica, they said that this young woman who's now 23 years old was able to recount those details when she was just a 14-year-old with such clarity that it made the difference in the case. the jurors here really weren't determining whether or not this defendant was guilty of the acts, they were determining whether he was sane or not. in state court, they declared in
utah that he was not sane to stand trial. so their task today was to figure out was he sane and should he take the penalty for his crimes and they said yes. however, not everybody agreed with that. listen to brian david mitchell's stepdaughter who says that he doesn't belong in prison, he should be in a mental hospital. okay, jessica? >> ted, the jurors -- >> reporter: i guess we're not going to hear from her, but we interviewed her afterwards and she said that basically she believes that missile has severe mental disorders and shouldn't be sitting in prison, the jurors disagreed. >> the jurors came out and spoke afterwards, did they say how they were able to reach a verdict so quickly or what did they say? >> reporter: they said they took this very seriously, they deliberated for three hours last night and another two hours this morning. they said they went through it and they actually said a few of the jurors did have some reservations about mitchell's mental stability but in the end,
they say, the one thing that really did turn this case was elizabeth smart's testimony. they say that stuck with them. and they didn't believe because elizabeth smart told them how mitchell changed his demeanor throughout this ordeal, they did not believe that this was real so they believe a lot of this is just an act so they came back with that guilty verdict. >> just a horrifying ordeal for elizabeth smart. and now a new reason to be concerned that america is not as secure as it could be from terrorists. we'll tell you about a stunning gap in america's ability to track private planes. also senate democrats put off a vote on legislation that would help young people who came to the u.s. illegally stay in the country and get an education.
i'm hugh jidette and i'm running for president. i'll say a lot of things but do i really care about this baby's future? when he's 30 years old our $13 trillion debt will be $70 trillion eventually his taxes will double just to pay the interest. i'm hugh jidette and i say let's keep borrowing and stick our kids with the tab. i took emergen-c. with 1,000 milligrams of vitamin c and energizing b vitamins, it made every performance count.
two of president obama's top advisors are hospitalized in washington at the moment. mary snow is monitoring that and some of the other stories in "the situation room." hi, mary, what do you have? >> well, ambassador richard holbrooke the administration's special representative for afghanistan and pakistan went to george washington hospital this morning after feeling ill. the state department says holbrooke is being evaluated. meanwhile tim geithner is having a kidney stone removed at this very same hospital. the treasury department calls it
a minor surgery and geithner's doctors expect him to be discharged tomorrow. military officials say the hijacking of a container ship off the coast of africa shows a constantly expanding area of hi pirate activity. no immediate word on the 23 crewmembers. it's estimated pirates seized 35 ships in the region during the first nine months of this year. here in new york, police say the bruised body of a swimsuit designer was found in a bathtub in an exclusive manhattan hotel last night. officials say the autopsy isn't conclusive. they are investigating her former boyfriend nick brooks whose father is the oscar winning composer of the song "you might up my life." and a flag from custer's last
stand was auctioned off today. none of the more than 200 u.s. soldiers survived the 1876 battle against the lakota and scheyenne tribes. its unclear, jessica who bought it. here's something worth paying attention to. everything you know about your taxes could soon be changing. there's growing talk of rewriting the tax code. we'll show you what it might mean for you. also new video of royals under attack. this is being called possibly the worst security breach of its kind ever. and a piece of sports history, the original rules of basketball are up for auction. how much would you pay?
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the bill suffered a set back yesterday when democrats pulled the measure from administration because they thought it might not pass. supporters are welcoming this delay, they're using the time to ramp up their efforts. 18-year-old alicia is on a mission. she's trying to persuade senators to pass the dream act. the legislation would give a path to citizenship for illegal imgrants like her who were brought to the united states by their parents like her. >> basically what i need is your calls and your support. >> reporter: senate democrats put off the vote on thursday because they didn't have enough votes to pass it. but the house did pass it. because she came from peru to
the u.s. illegally as a child, she has no social security number. she graduated high school and wants to go to college and the bill would provide instate tuition which would make it affordable. >> i want to go to college, and i want to graduate. and if the dream act doesn't pass, i cannot graduate and exceed in my career. >> reporter: as she moves to new york organizing a delay on the vote in the nation's capitol, supporters are trying to get opponents to change their minds, but in the senate there is still opposition. >> the dream act is still a major amnesty provision. there are no two ways about it. >> among the critics is louisiana republican senator david vitter who also questions financial aid for education in the bill saying it would, quote, provide nseptember incentives for illegal immigration. >> those who have applied for
amnesty would be put in competition for those scare resources. >> but carlos is working to convince critics otherwise. >> this is about us contributing and giving back because that's what we want. some people are in colleges trying to recruit people to go to school but we want to give back to this nation. >> a poll shows a big gap in -- 54% of americans supporting it, 42% opposing it, 4% unsure. as the battle rages here in washington over extending bush era tax cuts, there's growing talk of major changes to the tax code itself. changes that could have broad impact for anyone who pays taxes. that's most of us. cnn's brian todd is looking into it for all of us. brian, what are you finding out about all this? >> the people who know taxes, not me, but people who know taxes say to get a real sense of what you and i are going to be
paying down the line, you have to look beyond the tax cut extensions that we're all talking about right now. our taxes may stay the same for the moment, but two, three, four or more years down the line, we all may be paying more. leaders from both political parties say the national deficit has to be cut and to do that, america's tax code has to be rewritten. in an npr radio interview, the president explains what's being talked be it. >> talk of simplifying the code, eliminating deductions might make sense if people's rates are lower. >> we need to tell you about the deductions that many of us take that are on the chopping block, those are the deductions for the interest we pay on our home mortgages, the deduction for the property taxes that we pay and the deductions that we take for
the charitable contributions that we make. how does that translate to our tax bill? right now under current tax law, the average family, married couple with two children under 13, their average income is about $69,800. those deductions that we talked be about can take 14,000 off their taxable income, putting it down below about $55,000. everybody gets a child tax credit, a child care credit, for a final tax bill right now for a family with this income of $2,453. now when the tax code's rewritten to take away these deductions, what are we looking at in this column? >> for the family with the same amount of mcincome, the itemized income wouldn't go away, you get the standard deduction instead, you get to deduct that off of your income before you figure
your taxes. in the example we have here, the child credit would continue but the child care credit would disappear and in effect your taxes will be higher. >> same income, you still get get the standard deduction. >> we have kept the same child credit up here, but if rates go gown, your overall tax bill goes down. >> it's still higher than it is here $2,453, that bill is going to be an increase of about $800. >> this is an example of the tax code for this family goes up which is one of the things that the tax commissions are thinking about is raising more money. >> it's important to remember that these taxes are on the high end. these taxes may go up but not as high as those projections and it will likely be several years before they're paying those higher taxes.
we're here on k street because this is where all the lobbyists and lawyers work. let's say they try to rewrite the tax code to take away our deductions for the mortgage interest rates and the property taxes, what are people down here going to do? >> this is the center of all the lobbying in government. this is what i call the den of inequity because this is where all the deals get done and you are headquartering howell ining state and local governments and the housing industry. all that lobbying may delay tax reform, but he says it won't kill it. he says that the reagan administration was able to work with democrats to get past the lobbyists and special interests to rewrite the tax code and that was 25 years ago, they may be on the verge of doing it again. >> the obama administration may or may not take this up.
if this does lead to higher taxes, it's going to be a hard sell politically. >> steven moore says you've got to sell it as being about job creation. under this new tax codes, the corporate tax rates may lower. it's less outsourcing by corporations, more american jobs, you've got to sell it with points like that or else you're not going to sell it. >> and a lot of us would like it if taxes got simpler. and this is a serious, serious story, disturbing news that the faa may have lost track of more than 100,000 private planes in this country. we'll take a look at what it could mean to efforts to prevent terrorism. and britain's prince charles and camilla attacked in their cars as student protesters chant off with their heads. we'll tell you about this major security breach. stay with us, you're in "the situation room." logistics.
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take a look at this brand-new video just obtained by cnn of the attack by student protesters on a car carrying britain's prince charles and his wife camilla. david cameron is now vowing to bring them to justice and some are saying it may be the worst breach of royal security ever. here's cnn's senior
international correspondent dan rivers with the details. >> reporter: the attack on prince charles's convoy happened here where hundreds of protesters besieged their vehicles. there is now dramatic video of those protesters banging on the windows and shouting off with their heads. >> off with their heads! >> reporter: it's quite incredible that the police didn't draw their weapons. they are always accompanied by royal protection officers who are armed. the metropolitan police commissioner depaul stevenson has praised the restraint of the officers involved. but clearly this is a massive breach of royal security, perhaps the worst ever breach of royal security. >> i saw the unmistakable arrival of a very important person, the motorcycles, et
cetera, and the royal car came around the corner and i saw charles and camilla's faces and i quickly realized the car had been attacked by protesters. there was a large sort of paint mark on the back of the car and on the back of the window on prince charles's side of the car, it was all cracked like there was a michael thrown at the car. >> it's a very regrettable incident, but let's remember this is not the fault of the police, this is the fault of the people that tried to smash up that car. let's be clear where responsibility lies. responsibility for smashing property, for violence, lies with the people that perpetrate that violence and i want to see them arrested and punished in the correct way. >> reporter: it will only add to the pressure on sir paul stevenson after another protest a few weeks ago where police officers were completely unprepared and overwhelmed by student protesters who broke into the conservative party
office trashing the reception. this will cause more questions about the coordination of the protection officers that were whot c out here and the. -- the government now admits it can't be certain who owns a third of them. details of a stunning lapse. and more of this shocking video showing an attack on british royalty, some are now calling it as we just heard the worst security breach of its kind. >> off with their heads! you aw. sleep is here, on the wings of lunesta. and if you wake up often in the middle of the night... rest is here, on the wings of lunesta. lunesta helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, so you can wake up feeling rested. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities
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here's something disturbing. the federal aviation administration says registration records for as many as one-third of all private planes in the u.s. are out of date and inaccurate. and there's deep concern that terrorists or other criminals could exploit that. now the faa says it's taking dramatic action, canceling registration for all civil aircraft and forcing the owners to reregister, but is it enough? let's get details from fran townsend, she was homeland security for former president bush and was the homeland security external advisory board. they are incredibly thorough about patting us down when we go through the airport because of 911 and the aftermath. how is it possible that ten years after 9/11 they're not sure about keeping their own records? >> the prior administration that i was a part of made where he talked about having concern that
in private aviation they could put all sorts of things on those planes to move nuclear weapons and all sorts of chemical and biological things on board. he banned them from landing at places like reagan international airport. it's great that we're screening them, it would be nice if we knew who owned them. so it really is outrageous that they have identified the threat. they have taken the -- reregistering and certifying them. but where are those almost 100,000 planes, who's got them and what are they doing with them and where are they landing? will the lack of registration stop them from flying? there's a lot of unanswered questions and by the way, how long has this been going on that the faa realized this and didn't do anything about it? >> i remember not so long a lot we were doing a story about somebody flew a plane into the irs building, you had to track
who it was and why it happened. obviously these planes could be used as dangerous devices, even though they're small. what are the chances that terrorists could be in control of them of them? >> the problem is we don't know. i can tell you when i was in the white house, we had an instance where a plane violated the restricted air space in washington. we had to make a decision as to whether to shoot it down. here's an example of one of those planes that had been sold over the christmas holiday. this man hadn't registered it and he was flying over the capitol in the middle of a christmas holiday. >> did they know who it belonged to? >> his wife was crying on the other end of the phone saying he's just stupid, please don't shoot him down. and three fighter jet planes forced him to land outside of the capitol. it's got to be fixed.
and it's got to be fixed quickly. they're talking about doing it over three years on a rolling basis. if you identify a threat you fix a threat because it's immediate. >> i hope they're listening. thank you fran townsend. mary snow is with us again, she is monitoring some of the top stories in "the situation room" right now. hi, mary, what's the latest? the former chairman of the republican national committee says it's time for the gop to accept same-sex marriage. ken melman who announced he was gay last summer drove president george bush's 2008 re-election campaign. and here in new york, check out this dramatic video earlier today. this is an accident involving a bus, a car and a tractor trailer. in queens new york. it happened this afternoon. officials say there were six injuries, none of them life threatening. three people were taken to the hospital. and an accident of a different
kind, an unforgettable christmas performance in florida when a camel fell into the pugh pews florida church. lily lulubelle was scratched on the leg. fortunately no one wasjessica? >> well, what are the chances, i don't know who to say to that. you go to a christmas show and the camel falls on you. thank you, glad the camel wasn't badly hurt. president obama handed over the white house briefing room briefly today to bill clinton. that's coming up, plus, the original rules of basketball gone on the auction block. [ male announcer ] at&t introduces a new windows phone
the gavel came down today on what is believed to be a report amount of sports memorabilia. the document sold for $4.3 million. wow. richard roth is here with the details. hey, richard. >> jessica, two pieces of paper were all it took to create what is now a global sport with large personalities and players known around the world and today in manhattan, the documents that created basketball were put up for auction. >> reporter: basketball is one of the world's biggest sports. the stars earn megamillions. all thanks to this man who didn't have a jump shot.
dr. james naismith. at this gym, he invented basketball. >> it's the only sport where we can look at a couple of sheets of paper an say, ths it. >> reporter: here is sotheby's auction has, where the rules go to the highest rebounder, bidder. >> my grandfather says you don't make money out of my baby, but you're the caretaker and next general rax, so i'm considered the caretaker. >> you know the rules of basketball? >> reporter: madison square garden is a little louder than the auction house. to see if generation -- >> these are the original rules. >> reporter: the only coach to
win an nba and college championship was in awe. >> this is incredible. >> valued at $2 million at least. what's it worth to you? >> well, this is a game that's been awful good to me and a lot of other people. it's pretty special. >> reporter: the original rules did not call for dribbling. how do you think the game would have evolved without that? >> probably better. >> reporter: another rule says no pushing or striking an opponent. tell that to president obama. rules where the harlem globetrotters go, there are no rules. >> change the rules of basketball? we going to do it again. >> reporter: the entertaining globetrotters are now launching a new four-point shot. you think he would understand someone saying, i'm take k my talents to south beach. >> who would have thought the game of basketball would have come as far it has it is. >> reporter: naismith invented
basketball because he was searching for something to kids to do p in doors. >> thank you for inventing this great game. >> and we do have a winner. a mutual fund executive with roots and ties to kansas, purchased the rules of the game for $3.4 million. david booth said he grew up on naismith drive. they did the bidding over the phone. the couple are big basketball fans and they're going to donate the documents to the university of kansas. >> you looked very smart there in a tuxedo in that video. >> thank you. bill clinton came to the rescue. that's coming up at the top of the hour on "john king u.s.a.," but first, political comedy. ♪ now the healing power of touch just got more powerful. introducing precise from the makers of tylenol.
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it's been a fascinating week of political news and the late night comedians have been all over it. >> this isn't good, you guys. wikileaks supporter, they have hacked sarah palin's credit card information after she criticized julian assange. she said she's very upset and hopes charges to her account can be refundiated. >> fewer american women over 40 are getting annual mammograms.